426 Squadron welcomes new honorary colonel

News Article / July 20, 2016

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By Ross Lees

Honorary Colonel Timo Hytonen knew he had huge shoes to fill when he became the new honorary colonel of 426 Transport Training Squadron, located at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. Nevertheless, during his investiture ceremony earlier this year, at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, he pledged to do his best with the help of squadron personnel.

Following in the footsteps of Honorary Colonel Arthur Sherwin, a former Royal Air Force pilot shot down in Tunisia in 1943 who eventually became part of the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, would indeed be a daunting task, but Honorary Colonel Hytonen said he would work very hard to serve as a credible voice for 426 Squadron, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Armed Forces in general.

“I am very much looking forward to learning what you do in detail, and why it is important to Canada, and then I expect to tell as many people as possible about the contributions that members of 426 Squadron make to our collective security in as many places as will have me,” he told his audience during the May 26, 2016, ceremony. “I look forward to engaging in conversation with you on various topics of the day and building deeper understanding of the challenges we face in a very fast-moving world.”

426 Squadron is a diverse unit responsible for the force generation for three distinct fleets, molding technicians for two fleets as well as the development of aeromedical specialists. The squadron is also responsible for the testing and validation of all air mobility fleets’ new capabilities, and air mobility system support.

According to 426 Squadron’s commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Ryan Deming, choosing an honorary colonel was a process requiring significant study, thought and consideration regarding what would constitute a good fit for the unit. “Our daily engagement and cooperation with key corporate partners, and providing education to many allies, require constant tact and diplomacy,” he said, adding that these elements are key to maintaining a good relationship with the community. “We needed to find a candidate who would be capable of fostering our esprit de corps and embracing our unit values and proud traditions, but [who would] also serve as a vital link to our communities using their professional network of honorary colonels.”

First impressions mean a lot, however, and it was the first impressions of the members of the leadership team that sold them on Honorary Colonel Hytonen’s merits. He is approachable, humble, and an accomplished professional.

“We look forward to seeing you around the squadron,” Lieutenant-Colonel Deming said, “sharing experiences, gaining your wisdom and insight, and having fun together.”

Ross Lees is the editor of Trenton's base newspaper, The Contact, where this article was originally published.

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